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Lagos Assembly approves N20bn for coronavirus comtainment

By Monsuru Olowoopejo
Following the spread of Coronavirus in Lagos, the State House of Assembly has approved N20 billion for the containment of the deadly disease in the state.
The fund was contained in a bill sponsored by the Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa, title: ‘Emergency Coronavirus Pandemic Bill 2020’, which affords the governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, needed assistance to effectively contain the virus and enforce compliance of residents to preventive measures in the state

Approval for the fund hours after Commissioner for health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, disclosed that about six patients could be discharged tomorrow.

In the bill presented on the floor of the chamber by Deputy Majority Leader, Noheem Adams, after which it scaled the first and second readings and was passed to the committee on health for further deliberation.

The bill was later laid before the House by the chairman of the committee on health, Hakeem Sokunle after which it scaled the third reading because of the urgent requirements to ensure its speedily passage.

According to sections of the bill, the governor has the opportunity to make recourse back to the house before any further regulations on the issue.

To ensure residents comply with coronavirus preventive measures, the bill further stipulates a fine of N100,000 for defaulters, one month imprisonment in the correctional centre or three months community service.

“Where the offense is not spelled out, it attracts N200,000 and also allows the leadership of the various arms of government to structure their own restriction format”.

To ensure the availability of adequate funds, Section 8 of the bill afford the governor the opportunity to establish Coronavirus Trust Fund, to generate required funds to treat cases discovered in the state.

The bill further empowers the governor to declare a three-month state of emergency if the situation requires so.

Contributing, Speaker Obasa said the contingency plan in the budget cannot sort out the current issue, saying, government needs be seen doing something, making effective pronouncements.

“The governor can make recourse back to the House if need be. If the budget procedure takes much time that cannot suffice, the kick-off fund will help”.

Speaking on the bill, Adedamola Kasunmu noted that it was important to alleviate the impact of the virus on the economy of Lagos, especially since the bill would enable the executive to expend necessary funds to contain the virus by providing adequate facilities in the state-owned hospitals.

On his part, Gbolahan Yishawu (Eti-Osa 2) said: “We urge Lagosians to bear with us. Pandemics are not new but the way government and people react to it matters 150 states in the world. Lagos recorded the first case, so they should look at the possibility to broaden it to capture much more.”

Rotimi Olowo (Somolu I) noted that the spread of the virus is unprecedented and that as a result, stringent measures should be taken to forestall the pandemic, saying, the bill should be alive for live.

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